Writing a Business Plan
Completely Pain Free Business Planning - In 10 Steps - Part One
Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures
Going in blind when it comes to writing up a business plan can lead even the most stoic of people to lose heart. Approaching the tasks methodically can make it pain free. A bit like that old adage about how to eat an elephant. Do it one bite at a time. Here are steps 1 through 5.
You know you have to create a company business plan but you keep putting it off.
When finally you do concede it's time to stop putting it off and get down to it you find yourself suffering a severe bout of white page block. That flashing curser is almost having a soporific effect on you. Truth is you don't know where to begin. Use the following suggestions as a guide to help you draw up your business plan without getting needing a megaton aspirin for your headache.
1. What is your main aim?
Ask yourself why you are writing a business plan? Perhaps you're looking to raise funds or you just want to have on-paper clarification of how the future might pan out. Maybe you're looking to up your game when it comes to usurping your competition's place in the market. No matter what the reason for you writing the plan you need to devote yourself to it and be methodical. So in the first instance write a statement that explains what you want to achieve. You might refer to this as your mission or goal. Call it what you like, this is an important step as it helps to cement your purpose. It will also assist you in eventually getting the right message across to the recipients of your plan.
2. Look at other companies' business plans
Having an idea or a template is always useful. Use online resources and search for free business plan templates or examples. You might even opt to use software specifically designed to help you create your plan. Either way, a template or software will help to trigger responses in you. You'll find you include information that you might well have overlooked without the inspiration that extra prompting gave you.
3. Refer to existing information
Make a pile of all relevant materials that pertain specifically to your company and your line of business. This should include any flyers, advertising blurb, press releases, and even the content of your website. Anything that has information about your business in it will be of use to you. Even copies of email blasts you've sent out. In all of this documentation there is information that can be used or drawn upon in your business plan.
4. Hit the keyboard, and hit it hard and fast
At his stage it's important to remember that nothing is set in stone, especially not when it comes to typing in your word processing program. So don't be reticent about typing. In fact, go like the wind without worrying at this stage about the quality of your writing. This exercise is designed to get your thought flow moving. Rough ideas can later be turned into more solid proposals. Think of this process as a conversation, one in which ideas are flying back and forth. You are basically brainstorming, but with yourself.
5. Write up a first draft
You've got the ideas and the brainstorming done. So it's time to put all of that together with any relevant information you have pulled from your inspiration pile of business paperwork. Your aim here, in the fifth stage of creating your plan is to make all those vague outlines solid. It helps to print out your first draft and remove yourself from it for a while. Apply your attention on something else. Then come back to the draft. You'll be better able to pick out any errors after a break, as your eye will be more objective.
Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."
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